Russia has dominated the field, winning this year’s 16 & Under Tennis Europe Winter Cups by HEAD in both the boys’ and girls’ events. The girls defended their title from last year after coming back from a 0-1 deficit against Belarus. The boys, meanwhile, took the title off the hands of last year’s champions, France. The 16 & Under category is an event in which Russian teams continue to thrive - this is the girls’ 10th win overall (eleven if counting one win as part of the USSR), while the boys lift the trophy for a fourth time.
Boys (Ronchin, FRA): Russia 2 - France 1
Russia’s Igor Kudriashov defeated Joshua Dous Karpenschif in a come-from-behind 3-6 6-1 6-2 win. Aristarkh Safonov gave the Russians an unassailable 2-0 lead after grinding out a tough win over Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard, taking the rubber 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) to seal an impressive comeback under pressure for the Russians. The French will have rued the missed opportunities in the singles, and as the four players took to the court for the doubles Les Bleus were determined to get a win in front of their home crowd. Even though it was a dead rubber, the atmosphere and intensity were anything but, as the French managed to score a win for pride, taking the doubles 6-4 4-6 10-7.
1. Russia, 2. France, 3. Czech Republic, 4. Poland, 5. Sweden, 6. Germany, 7. Bulgaria, 8. Serbia
Girls (Brest, FRA): Russia 2 - Belarus 1
Jana Kolodynska got Belarus off to a fantastic start in the final, posting a 7-5 1-6 6-1 win over Polina Kudermetova. Third-ranked Oksana Selekhmeteva got things back on track for Russia, with a straightforward 6-2 6-1 victory over #18 Aliona Falei. The four players were on court again to play out the deciding doubles rubber. In the end, it was a subdued affair, with the Russians proving too strong, taking the match, final and title 6-3 6-1.
1. Russia, 2. Belarus, 3. Italy, 4. Netherlands, 5. Germany, 6. Ukraine, 7. Serbia, 8. Poland
Road to the Finals
In Group C qualifying in Kazan, Russia, the locals were in their element. A 2-1 win over Lithuania followed by 3-0 wins over Italy and Sweden led the Russian boys to qualify in top spot in their group. At the final rounds, they had scored 2-1 wins in the quarters and semis over Germany and Poland respectively to advance to the final against France.
With a bye in qualifying in Kazan, the Russian girls defeated Turkey 2-1 in the semis followed by Germany by the same score line in the final to win qualifying Group C. Russia came in strong in the finals in Brest with a 3-0 win over Ukraine in the quarters. They were handed an easy path to the final against Italy as the Italian team was hit by illness, giving Russia another 3-0 win.
A total of 188 national teams were in action over the last month across the Winter Cups’ three age categories. Complete results can be found here.
16 & Under Winter Cups in Numbers
- Russia has notched its 10th win in the girls’ event
- Russia (girls) has been in all finals since 2011, except in 2017
- The Belarussian girls were last in the finals in 2006 and 2010
- Belarus (girls) last won in 2004
- The Russian boys have now won 4 titles: 2003, 2013, 2016 and 2019
- The French boys have amassed 15 wins in this category
- They have finished runners-up 10 times
- France (boys) won the title last year